The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program helps communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is keeping people healthy or making people sick. The Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to bring this program to communities across the nation.
Each year, the County Health Rankings bring actionable data to counties across the country, serving as a call to action to improve local health. The 2016 Rankings include an in-depth examination of the differences in health between rural and urban counties, with some revealing findings:
• Rural counties have had the highest rates of premature death for many years, lagging far behind other counties.
• While urban counties continue to show improvement, overall rates of premature death are worsening in rural counties.
• Nearly one in five rural counties has experienced worsening premature death rates over the past decade.
There is no single factor that explains the significant differences in health between rural and other types of counties. So where do you start? And how do you know what is going to make a difference for your community?
This report outlines key steps toward building healthy communities—rural, urban, and anywhere in between— along with some specific policies and programs that can improve health. Policies and programs that have been tested in rural communities are highlighted throughout the report.
You can find more information about policies and programs that can improve health on the website, countyhealthrankings.org/whatworks.